Once they would reach calmer seas they would take care of the water on deck. For two days and three nights the ship evaded murderous waves, winds that would fling less sturdy ships across the sea blew unsuccessfully around hull, through ropes and past the triangular sail, filling it enough to move the ship. Finally reaching calmer seas the two men grew concerned, truly the order was placed well at the gateway, and truly their cause could be the salvation for the world, but if hey failed, if the order fell and the dragons should reenter the world of mortals, would the rest of he world know? How could they fight it if they first had to brave a sea that wanted them dead? Other ships would succumb to the waves, to the winds, and if they were lucky enough to reach the pole, they would encounter he treacherous rocks. “Look!” Eric pointed, in front of them, slightly off to starboard a speck of color stood above the horizon, visible in one moment, obscured by the motion of water and ship the next. “A ship?” Leif turned to his father. “It sure did not look like any cloud I’ve ever seen.” Eric winked, stirring the.rudder carefully, maneuvering the ship towards his discovery.”Ahoy!” a slender pale face with ember eyes greeted Eric as they moved aling side a large galley, both ships had rolled their sails and fought to come to a halt. “Ahoy!” Leif greeted in return. In the ember eyes he saw confusion, at firat the Albin had thought to.find humans, but the two men in the tiny ship.were nothing human at all. Much taller than even the Norsers, and their appearance was not human at the least. They resembled more the Albin than the Humans, but were not Albin either. “Where you sailing to?” the Albin yelled. Eric and Leif exchanged a long glance. Neither understood a word the Albin had uttered. “Does anyone understand us?” Eric yelled in return. The blank expressions of the people who showed up next to the Albin told Eric all he need to know. “Apparently not.” he added more for himself. “Excuse me, excuse me! Please let me,” another face appeared next to the Albin, it was also pale, but the eyes were green of color, the pupils a narrow vertical slit in the bright light that seemed to shine from the entire overcast sky, her face, although smooth, composed of myriads of tiny scales. “You speak the language of the ancients?” she yelled. Feeling weary at first glance of the Naga Eric raised and eyebrow. “Well, it is an old language, and ours is an ancient race.” Eric returned, relieved, neither he nor Leif had anticipated that there might be a language barrier wih the other races of the world. “Amazing.” she smiled. “My name is Falthalah, of the sweetwater Naga, I’ve learned that language at the pyramid of Naga’na.” again Eric and Leif exchanged a glance. Leif remembered mentions of pyramids in he old texts of the library. There were several in the world, but the name of the place did not ring any bells. As she flung herself from the railing of the galley Leif’s heart skipped a beat, feeling reminded of a Succubi when he saw he monstrous wings. But her serpent like lower bidy did not match the description. “It is a place with an incarcerated demon inside, a Succubi, crafted from a special material, like this.” she held out a small serpent crafted from the stone. Taken aback by her sudden flight and landing in front of him Leif dared not move a muscle. Eric on the oher hand could barely avert his eyes from her bare teats. “Please, excuse my son,” he cleared his throat, “but we have never seen your kind before.” he tried to look at her eyes wih a faint smile. Fathala glanced up to the galley, longing for someone else to understand the language of the ancients. Never had she encountered someone who had no idea what a Naga was. “May I?” Eric inched forward to examine the gem in her hands. The stone was strangely warm in his hand, sending a wave of power through him. “It’s ethereal!” he stretched out his arm, handing the stone back to Fathala. Although he had always had the gift of magic he had concealed it just like his.parents had taught him. By the time he had discovered his abilities he was already destined to become the heir to their farm, and having that gift would’ve required him taking the vows, having his manhood removed. It was an open secret that eldest sons were trained by their parents to conceal their gift, if they had it. To his relief was Thorsten not cursed with it, but neither were his other sons. Perhaps Erica would turn out to have it, a case in which she would be even higher regarded as a bride. “Do you know of any such place?” he turned to Leif.”Several places were built with the clay from the serpent’s nest.” he sighed, the material could only be what their ancestors had called clay of the serpent’s nest. After the crystal serpent had come to the world hat material was found to have the property of giving place to magic when there was none. Unspeakable amounts of it remained where he had landed, a once rich and lush jungle, later to be barren desert, with water only flowing beneath the surface. “Where is this Naga’na?” he turned to Fathala. “The sweetwater sea.” she looked from one to the other, seemingly disappointed over the fact that the men she encountered had no more answers than she had. “My fair lady, if I may ask, what brings you out here?” Eric took up word again after both Fathala and Leif had fallen silent, the later sunken into thought. Fathala didnot knowif she was being flattered or mocked by his words, to her knowledge no one ever had called a Naga a “fair Lady”. “We attempt to travel to the pole, for the seventh or eighth time. Everytime our efforts were thwarted by storm, although ohers had caught glimpse of it, barren, rocky and lifeless.”His son still immersed in thought Eric glanced over his shoulder, the fierce winds had transported them well out of range to see where he had come from, he still had to, uncertain whether it truly was in that direction, or some degrees off. “Our people live on the pole, and have so for tens of thousands of years.” Leif caught the Naga as she lost balance, not due to the sea, but what she heard. Carefully he helped her sit down against the side if the ship, she yelled up to the worried spectators on the taller ship that ahe was alright, except for a little shock. “So your people are the descendants of what we call the ancients?” she turned back to Leif and Eruc after sorting her thoughts for a few moments. “I suppose so. I said before that ours is an old race.” Eric smiled. “My son is the better historian, he is a eunuch knight of the order!” his chest grew with pride. Although mandatory for sons who were not deemed to inherit anything, it filled many people with pride to have family in the order. “I am.” Leif feigned a smile, it was nothing worth of pride for his point of view. All he could ever accomplish was a footnote or side note in the archives of the order, nothing more. No sons, no daughters. No village songs commemorating him for his life in the village. A text he saw carved into a chest in an abandoned quarter of the keep shot to his mind.

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